easy jazz piano standards?
I´m learning piano, (my goal is jazz piano), so I have a specific question for jazz piano players...could you suggest me some easier standards to start to practice impro? I know lots of them, but so far I´m not able yet to understand at a glance the difficulty of a piece.. what do you suggest?
thanks in advance,
- David ALv 78 years agoBest Answer
Marco, your question has SO MANY ANSWERS that it is difficult to know where to begin. That may be why you have no answers after so long. To give you the answer you are seeking, I would have to know what you mean by "easy"! Do you mean easy such as in the key of "C"? Do you mean easy to improvise with? Easy song form? Do you mean easy such as no key changes, no difficult harmonic structure (few chord changes), no syncopation? Do you see what I am getting at?
Many standards are "easy" and that is one reason they have become "standard". "Blue Moon" is one of the first standards I learned and it is easy in that it is based upon the "easy" I-VI-II-V chord structure. I learned it in the original key of Eb, but you could play it in "C". However, the bridge of the song goes through some key changes (as do many standards) and that could make the key of "C" a bad choice at the beginning. The chords in the bridge stand out from the key so much that it is "easier" to learn (memorize) the bridge. About a million or so songs, especially from the 1950's, are based on this I-VI-II-V chord structure so you had better learn this.
(An aside: You don't have to worry about this right now, but to be a jazz player, you have to master ALL 12 keys! It took me years to realize this, but it has made me a better player not to mention a better reader! I now find it enjoyable to improvise in Db and Gb and E-natural and B-natural-- it gives me a fresh prospective on songs I have played for years.)
Some songs are so "easy" harmonically that I don't like to play them, but audiences seem to love them. For Instance "Lara's Theme" from Dr. Zhivago is based on just two chords with just a few additional "standard" changes for the bridge. "Alley Cat" and "Music Box Dancer" are other two-chord wonders with few changes for the bridge. These songs are difficult to improvise upon, but better, experienced players can do it.
"Mack the Knife" (Theme from the Three Penny Opera) is another very simple one but most jazz artists add some substitute chords to the basic structure to make it more interesting when playing and improvising. The famous pianist/composer Bob James sat in with my group one night on a dance gig and the audience (which included his parents) insisted he play "Mack the Knife"! I was embarrassed by the request, but he played a marvelous, creative version and everyone (including the band) loved it! In the hands of a master...
"Moonlight in Vermont" and "Like Young" start out fairly simply but are fun to play. The bridges go wild, but both songs use the same chord structure for the bridge. That's two more standards for you in the key of Eb.
Anyway,here is a list a few of my "easier" favorites when I was starting out years ago:
Darktown Strutters' Ball
Take the A Train
Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans
That Old Devil Moon
Someone to Watch Over Me
My Favorite Things
These Foolish Things (another one based on the I-VI-II-V structure)
There are so many, it is hard to stop listing songs! Some of these may not be so easy, but they are great songs and when you love the song (and the sound) you will not mind working on them. For instance, the first song I picked out completely by ear is Jobim's "Girl From Ipanema"! It is definitely not "easy", but I loved it and didn't mind listening to it over and over (including my playing) to learn it. I definitely think Jobim is the best composer of the last century but most of his works are not "easy"! Even such jazz greats as Stan Getz and Bub Shanks, etc. found Jobim's syncopation challenging.
Good luck and happy playing!Source(s): years in the biz
- 4 years ago
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easy jazz piano standards?
I´m learning piano, (my goal is jazz piano), so I have a specific question for jazz piano players...could you suggest me some easier standards to start to practice impro? I know lots of them, but so far I´m not able yet to understand at a glance the difficulty of a piece.. what do...Source(s): easy jazz piano standards: https://biturl.im/ZCop2
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- ShannonLv 44 years ago
Try out the Jamie Aebersold CD/books, where you can learn and also play along to backing tracks. The only real way of learning is by actually playing, so once you've jammed with the CDs, look into forming a band with others who are at a similar level. Have fun :-)
- 4 years ago
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